In the last few days I have written about two widely varying presentations of jihad: that of the openly radical Muslim writer Sidiq Aucbur and that of CAIR’s Hussam Ayloush. The same disagreements, or at least differences of presentation, are playing out in a controversy over a book in Australia. This from The Australian, with thanks to Jean-Luc:
IT’S a colourful book that sits on a shelf in the country’s largest Islamic bookshop deep in the southwestern suburbs of Sydney.
But unlike much of the texts surrounding it, Jihad and Jurisprudence is considered by moderate Muslims to pose a danger to society.
Inside, Western laws are described as null and void and all Muslims are called to participate in violent jihad, or holy war, in “infidel lands”.
This is no different from what is found in the writings of Sayyid Qutb and Syed Abul Ala Maududi, which are sold widely in Islamic bookstores in the United States.
Its author Abu Qatada is the suspected leader of al-Qa’ida in Europe and is under arrest in Britain.
Joining a jihad group is, he states, “not a seasonal choice” but a divine order. “Infidel Christians and Jews who live on Muslim lands can be considered protected people, but those who are not in Muslim lands can have no protection and cannot be trusted; they are war infidels.”
The “protection” to which he refers is the legal inferior status of dhimmitude.
The Arabic-language book was bought by The Weekend Australian from The Islamic Bookstore, in Sydney’s Lakemba.
It is evidence of what moderate Muslims fear is the spread of radicalising books and pamphlets that could serve as a convincing rationale for terrorism among younger impressionable members of the Australian Muslim community.
Among those concerned are the country’s most senior Islamic leader, Sheikh Taj Din Al Hilaly, and Islamic scholar Mohsen Labban.
Both warn this literature could lead to Muslims isolating themselves from mainstream society and create a situation where radical ideas can be incubated.
“They (fundamentalists) choose certain translations which have this tendency towards dogmatic and violent attitudes as the meaning of verses (from the Koran),” Mr Labban says. . . .
Sheikh Hilaly himself is an unwilling recipient of this kind of literature, including the works of the 18th century founder of the fundamentalist Wahabi form of Islam, Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahab.
But some time ago he made a firm decision about how to deal with the caches of booklets and pamphlets that turn up unsolicited every few months on the doorstop of Lakemba Mosque, the most prominent place of worship for Australia’s 280,000 Muslims. So seriously does he take the literature’s ability to influence people, he makes trips to the rubbish tip to dispose of it.
In an interview with The Weekend Australian several months ago, Sheikh Hilaly refused to reveal who was behind the material – which is understood to be distributed unsolicited to other mosques.
Why? If he is so against this point of view, and takes it so seriously, why not cooperate with authorities who are trying to find terrorists?
Also, instead of concentrating on disposing of this literature, why doesn’t he formulate a comprehensive refutation of it on Islamic grounds? That would ultimately be far more effective — if he would and could do it.
Most of the literature raising concern is Wahabi, the pure form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia.
“Pure form of Islam.” Perhaps that suggests why no convincing Muslim refutation has been formulated.
Based on a strict interpretation of the Koran, Wahabism has developed a negative reputation worldwide because its adherents include Osama bin Laden and his followers as well as Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban.
Wahabis believe laws laid down in the Koran, termed Sharia law, should be the way society is governed. Other moderate Muslims say official groups are spreading this literature, rather than a few individuals returning from the Middle East with books in their suitcase.
But the moderates are reluctant to name these groups publicly, fearful of dividing the Muslim community and attracting unwanted attention.